Calypso Monarch Finals to be held on Carnival Thursday
Helon Francis is the reigning Calypso Monarch
The Calypso Monarch finals will be held on Carnival Thursday, February 28.
This was confirmed by Lutalo Masimba, President of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO).
Speaking to Loop, Masimba said the event will be dubbed a Night of Champions, as it will also be the finals for the ex-tempo competition.
Loop reported on December 14 that there will be no competitions at Dimanche Gras as National Carnival Commission Chairman Winston 'Gypsy' Peters promised a spectacular show that night.
Masimba said having the competition as a stand-alone event now allows TUCO to control the competition from preliminary judging in the tents all the way to the finals. He acknowledged that while the crowning of the calypso monarch was the official start of Carnival for many, this has since changed.
"There are a number of people who hold on to the tradition and I feel their pain but in these modern times, we have a groundswell of people who feel Dimanche Gras should be a big extravaganza and that the competition takes away from the night. We don't have an argument having the monarch as a stand-alone from the big event," he said.
He said the last time the Calypso finals were held as a stand-alone event was in 1999 and in 2014 when TUCO produced the Dimanche Gras there was a better response based on their promotion of the event and the Calypso competition as the centrepiece.
Stating that he is optimistic about the 2019 season, Masimba acknowledged the growing interest in the art form by younger people and soca artists.
"I have been looking at that for the last couple years. The success of Calypso Rose on the international stage is an important factor where that is concerned. When you listen to the material she is making a statement with they understand they have to return to the root of the thing. Within recent years we noticed that Benjai made the calypso monarch final and this year with Voice placing second, so that would stimulate a lot of activity and curiosity in some and a desire for the younger ones to identify with the root," he said.
He said to that end, they have reconfigured the Calypso Fiesta product so that outside of the calypso competition, there is an after party with performances from established and younger artists.
"There is definitely an air of excitement and we make it known we represent all the artists, we don't represent calypso alone. we are for all fo the artists who give of themselves and time and music. It is important they understand there is a members' organisation within the arena and we welcome them with open arms."
Masimba said they are yet to hear anything about subventions for Carnival 2019 but they are forging ahead to prepare for the season.